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Why should I encourage my child into construction?

Choosing a career path is as daunting as it is exciting which is why those exploring job options often turn to parents, teachers and mentors for guidance and advice.

Anyone considering a career in construction is likely to have a whole host of questions and we want to help you to give them responsible, honest answers.

We also want to address some of the concerns you might have about an industry long acquainted with myths and stereotypes.

How would you encourage a 12 year old into construction? | 01:33

Your questions answered

People who work in construction help to shape the world around them. They build schools, hospitals, homes. They create the infrastructure that supports our villages, towns and cities. By working in construction, you become a part of this essential work that helps to drive the economy forward.

Construction is also a sector which suits people from a multitude of backgrounds boasting a wide range of different skills.

Not at all. There are more than 150 jobs in the industry based in a range of different locations. You can find yourself working on site, in an office, in a workshop, even from your home.

There are lots of pathways into construction so it’s important to tailor your advice to suit the age of your child.

If you are supporting a young person who is about to finish their GCSEs, there are a range of options.

First try to work out their end goal – the dream job.

If this involves further training, you might want to suggest they look at A-levels which would help them get a place on a degree course to suit that career choice.

A-levels in maths and science could help them with securing a university place to study things like engineering for example.

Some roles do not require formal qualifications.

If you have a child who plans to leave school after GCSEs, there are still plenty of opportunities available to them.

A construction apprenticeship can help them get hands-on experience fast and give them a chance to earn while they learn with extra training.

If your child has completed a degree course and now needs help finding a job, consider looking at graduate programmes and work experience placements with big construction companies.

Many organisations offer traineeships to young people looking to start work.

Construction never stands still. And neither will your career.

There are lots of opportunities to develop your skills and access on-the-job training in construction. There's no shortage of new construction jobs in the UK either, with the industry set to need more and more skilled people in future.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) predicts that the construction industry will need almost a quarter of a million extra workers between now and 2019. That's around 45,000 more construction vacancies each year.  This means that construction companies will be short staffed and there will be more openings for people with all sorts of skills.

There is a range of 'Day in the life' case studies you can look at to find out more.

These stories include a young man called Cheston Stanley who is being sponsored by his current employer to work while studying part-time for a degree in Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management to improve his prospects.

They also feature a woman called Rebecca Gill who used her talent for DIY to secure a traineeship in painting and decorating, with her sights set on one day running her own business.

Salaries vary depending on the role you choose to pursue. The average salary for a bricklayer, carpenter or joiner is £10,000 to £30,000. The average quantity surveyor earns in the region of £32,000 and £45,000. A fully trained architect earns in excess of £50,000. An experienced civil engineer can expect to earn £60,000 or more while a Project Director can earn £90,000 or more.

The more training you do, the faster your career will progress and the more you will earn.

Women make up around 14% of construction professionals and 1% of construction workers on site. These numbers may seem low, but the picture is set to change.

After all, there has been a national push in recent years to encourage and support women in the sector and there are a number of prominent role models to look up to.

These include strong women of the past including Hedy Lamarr who invented a remote-controlled communications system for the U.S military during World War II and Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-born British architect who was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

And those of the present including Suzannah Nichol, Chief Executive of the National Specialist Contractors' Council and Christine Townley, Executive Director at the Construction Youth Trust.

All of these have played a part in shaping the future of construction for other young women.

Our 'Day in the life' section features lots of case studies from women working in the industry

Read about how Katie Evans became a Lead Digital Engineer, find out how Fahmeda Salik came to pursue a career in administration and why Christabelle Paradzai loves her job as a site technician.

The industry is working very hard to make it attractive to all and key to ensure that nobody feels discriminated against.

This extends to embracing diversity in the workplace. Sexist, racist and homophobic language or behaviour is never tolerated.

Thanks to initiatives like the Considerate Construction Scheme, employers follow a strict code of practice designed to encourage best practice.

Again, this is not an issue.

In the construction industry we strive to build environments that are accessible to all.

By employing people with disabilities or those who have experience of caring for people with different needs, we are better placed to design buildings which achieve this.

In 2009 CITB launched a campaign called Net Ambitions to encourage more people with disabilities into the industry.

These included Ray Goddard who was a bricklayer for 10 years until he fell from a ladder and suffered a severe fracture to his hand which he never fully recovered from.

He retrained as an assessor and now trains other bricklayers.

Jeremy Cross is another example. With numerous learning difficulties he found it difficult to work in a job requiring a lot of reading and writing. However, he found he had a natural talent for carpentry and has since found full-time employment with a company that supports him in the areas he struggles with.

The UK construction industry is the safest in Europe.

On a construction site, health and safety is the most important priority at all times. Noise, dust, dirt and dangerous materials are all carefully controlled by safe working systems, safety signs and risk assessment.

Most jobs in construction require health and safety training too so anyone going on site must go through a proper induction.

Useful links

Career advice for parents

Career advice for parents gives advice for parents on all aspects of career choices, from explaining apprenticeships, the different qualifications possible and the financial aspects of choosing a career

Parent Adviser

Parent adviser gives clear and simple advice about how you can influence your child's decision, what requirements are expected for various qualifications and a career advice action plan


Plotr has information and advice on how to help your child with choosing subjects at various stages of their school career and how you can help your child to develop their employability skills


Mumsnet is an online community forum where you can get advice from others in the community on a host of subjects, including advice to help your child decide on career options and subject choices

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